Reverse evolution

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Evolution is a cruel mother. It is the reason for the diversity, resilience, and even existence of life, it has created us the way we are, but it does not care about fairness or anything we actually consider human. Sometimes evolution goes backward (devolution). That is our society within our civilization that imposes all the morals (reducible to the categorical imperative) upon us in order to make life a bit less miserable. We value empathy, compassion, democracy (I prefer the liberal flavour of it) for the same reason. The structure and regulation of society are based on our core values. All this works predominantly short and middle term, long term (a decade) — not so much, on the evolutionary scale it works in the opposite direction.

Some examples may help to see what I mean. From the political system take the duration of a term. Even for the most well-minded politicians all the promises and goals are on the scale of an election cycle of 4–5 years. Beyond that, we will think IF reelected. Any long term policies (e.g. climate change) are much more rhetoric than money on the table. Another example, the time to educate oneself has increased to an essential part of your life (15–20 years and rising), we should value that and invest in it on the background of the increasingly dynamic job market and all kinds of surprises (e.g pandemic). Some of us still do it, even we know the social and technological acceleration will make most of the accumulated skills obsolete. As a reaction to that, a new hedonistic culture of immediate gratification gains speed.

Now, my point. There are the simple (rustic, naive, plain) people, they are poorly educated, mostly religious, and passionately patriotic. I resist the temptation to call them stupid people but so many of them have won the Darwin awards (by not surviving) that the label glues itself. The people I’m talking about survive mostly by belonging to communities (of all sizes) of much smarter people (think the village idiot a while ago) and they would perish one way or another if it wasn’t for the outside support. Nowadays, part of society (liberals) thinks that it is not fair to let natural selection take care of them. Moreover, the rich and powerful (Murdoch like influencers) would like to keep them around, that way they have an easily manipulatable electorate. As a result, they got cultivated and nurtured as long as they stay in the same submissive state of mind. Trump and Brexit supporters, populism, nationalism, religious fundamentalism are just some of the many varieties of the kind in question. The right to be ignorant became the most popular fundamental human right for the last couple of decades.

From a historical viewpoint, any king would love (and they often did) to be surrounded by a mindless cheering crowd, which would follow him to death. The new element now is the level of the unused opportunities provided by contemporary developed countries to their citizens. So maybe not entirely but mostly it is their fault. Am I leaning toward eugenics? I will never confess, plus I don’t think that would work. Is there a cure at all? I’m more pessimistic than optimistic. I hope I’m wrong here, and societies can learn from disasters they cause themselves.

Then I recall “The answer is technology. Now, what was the question again?”.

Categories society, human condition


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